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Excerpt from The Twisted Ladder

“We’re being followed.” The driver’s eyes glanced in the rearview mirror. “Someone tried to mug me back at the hotel. I don’t know who it was.”

They crossed the bridge, drove past the Washington Monument, and Enrique saw the grey Suburban still following a hundred yards behind. They drove several blocks further into the district, and Enrique devised a plan.

“Can you make a turn up there by that building, and slow down a little? When we’re out of that grey SUV’s field of view, speed up. I’m going to lie down in the seat. When they catch up, they won’t see me and will figure I bailed back at the corner. At least, I hope they do. If they fall for it, they’ll turn around.” He threw a handful of twenties over the seat. “Whatever you do, don’t stop.” 

The driver looked over at the money. “Okay, man. I’m with you. Them boys don’t know who they messin’ with.” From under the seat, he pulled out a two-foot-long, black metal flashlight and laid it beside him.

He made the turn abruptly, and when their line of sight was broken, he jammed on the brakes. As the Suburban came into view, the cabbie came off the brakes and accelerated hard. Enrique lay in the floor.

“He’s gaining fast, man.”

“Don’t look in the mirror. Pay no attention. You’ve got nothing to hide.”

The Suburban pulled up alongside. The cab driver casually looked over at it, a gradual smile forming on his face. Enrique heard the SUV’s tires squeal as the driver jammed on the brakes and made an abrupt U-turn. Twenty seconds later, they were clear. The cab driver accelerated, turned, accelerated, and turned again.

A moment passed, and Enrique smiled at the driver as he looked in his mirror. “As much as I’ve enjoyed the adventure, my friend, we have to part ways.”

“Yup,” said the driver. “We had a time today.”

“Yes, we did.” He was unable to suppress an even bigger smile. “If you don’t mind, drop me at the nearest metro stop.” He dropped three one-hundred-dollar bills over the seat.


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